126 posts categorized "Economy"


Texas ranks No. 7 for disclosures of state-paid jobs incentives

Texas does a better job than most other states when it comes to disclosing how its taxpayer-subsidized jobs programs work, says Good Jobs First, which bills itself as a non-partisan watchdog focusing on economic development efforts. In a report titled "Show Us the Subsidized Jobs," released Wednesday, the group said Texas has the seventh-best disclosure practices, although even the leader, Illinois, only scored a 65 on a scale of 100. Texas earned a 40 overall. The Texas Economic Development Act program received an 86, the highest for any state jobs program. That measure allows the state's independent school districts to offer property tax reductions to businesses. It was just extended another 10 years by the 2013 Legislature.

Four other Texas programs were rated: the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (score of 61); the Texas Enterprise Fund (53); Film Tax Credits (0) and Skills Development Fund (0). The Emerging Technology Fund and Enterprise Fund are the largest and are both run out of the governor's office. A link to the report is here.

-- Jim Fuquay


Frost Bank chief expects Yellen to get nod as next Fed chair

Dick Evans, the longtime CEO of San Antonio-based Cullen/Frost Bankers, told a Fort Worth audience that he thinks Janet Yellen will be tapped ahead of Larry Summers as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Evans, who spoke to at a luncheon for the bank's local customers, is more than a distant observer: He just finished a two-year term as a member of Federal Advisory Council to the Fed's board of governors and knows both Yellen and Summers, considered the two most likely candidates to succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term expires Jan. 31. For the record, Summers is Evans' personal pick of the two, but both are highly qualified and likely to continue recent policies at the nation's central bank, he said. Yellen, currently No. 2 at the Fed, would become the first woman to lead the central bank.

Evans has headed what is the largest bank based in the state since 1997. It's the only one of the top 10 banks that didn't change hands during Texas' energy and real estate bust in the late 1980s, and is widely considered one of the best-run institutions in the state. He's not a fan of the federal Dodd-Frank legislation implemented in the wake of the financial crisis, saying it threatens even small banks with "mountains of red tape," but there is at least one regulatory step he'd like to see the feds take. That's a return to the separation of investment banking and commercial banking, a Depression-era firewall that was breached in 1998 when Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Bills are pending in Congress to do just that, but Evans said he doesn't expect one to pass.

-- Jim Fuquay


Chase cutting 450 Fort Worth mortgage jobs

JPMorgan Chase will cut 450 mortgage servicing jobs at its CentrePortv facility in northeast Fort Worth as the need for personnel to handle foreclosures decreases, the bank said Wednesday. Chase spokesman Greg Hassell said another 25 jobs in other North Texas locations also will go. The cuts are a small percentage of the bank’s approximately 14,500 employees in North Texas, and Chase hopes to place some of the affected workers in the 340 current job openings in its North Texas operations, Hassell said.

Chase in February announced that it planned to cut 19,000 jobs companywide by the end of 2014, including 13,000 to 15,000 in mortgage-related positions. The local cuts are part of that, Hassell said Wednesday. He said affected workers will receive at least 90 days’ notice.

According to data from RealtyTrac, a real estate information service, U.S. foreclosures are at their lowest level since 2007, just before the financial crisis took hold. Also, mortgage refinancings have waned with the recent rise in interest rates, although mortgage rates remain historically low. Chase is the largest bank in Tarrant County and second-largest in the Metroplex by deposits. The bank and its predecessors have long operated a large operations facility at CentrePort, just south of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport that handles a variety of functions.

-- Jim Fuquay


Lennar Corp. to begin homebuilding in Riverwalk development in Euless

EULESS — National homebuilder Lennar Corp. has bought 49 acres at the northwest corner of Airport Freeway and Texas 360 in Euless, the first land acquisition in the planned Riverwalk development since the project was announced nearly two years ago, the company said Wednesday.

Lennar said it will debut its new, more upscale home designs in the development, with home prices starting in low $300,000’s.

"Our Riverwalk homes will comprise the first of several new developments in the region where we will debut a new, upgraded product line that encompasses higher quality details and amenities in addition to a more upmarket architectural design," said Greg UrechÖ , Lennar’s land operations director in a statement. "We are proud to deliver a residential product that will appeal to today’s demanding Dallas-Fort Worth-area homebuyer."

Lennar bought the land from Dallas-based Stratford Land Co., which bought a 194-acre tract in April 2011 from a California real estate company that owned the property since 1993. A fashion mall was once planned for the site, but Stratford said it wanted to develop the tract for homes, shopping and hike-and-bike trails with a signature riverwalk feature.

"When Stratford acquired the property in 2011, we knew the location was exceptional," said Steve SandersÖ , Stratford Land’s senior investment manager for Texas. "Lennar’s decision to build at this location affirms our investment, and we are excited to see the residential area of Riverwalk come to life."

Groundbreaking on the first homes is scheduled for this summer, with a model home open by the first quarter of 2014, Lennar said. The company said it will initially build 200 homes, but that it has an option to double the number of homes.

Stratford said it is also talking with potential buyers for Riverwalk’s multifamily tracts. The company said it expects sales of the commercial tracts to happen soon thereafter. About 70 acres is set aside for commercial development.

When completed, Riverwalk will have approximately 480 single-family homes, 250 town houses and at least 500 apartments, as well as shops and restaurants.

The land stretches from Airport Freeway on the south, to Harwood Road on the north, Texas 360 on the east to near Fuller-Wiser Road on the west. Midway Drive bisects the tract east to west. During the 1990s, the Bear Creek Fashion Mall was proposed for the site, but never built.

_ Sandra Baker


Report finds area apartment industry has nearly $6 million economic impact

Apartment construction and operations contributed $5.9 billion to the metro Dallas economy in 2011 and support about 50,000 jobs, a report Tuesday by the National Multi Housing Council and the National Apartment Association finds.

The 2011 report is the latest figures available from the Washington-based groups. The metro Dallas area includes the 12-county North Texas region, including Tarrant County.

In Texas, the apartment industry contributed $93 million to the state’s economy and supported about 35,000 jobs in 2011, the report said.

The report covers the economic contribution of apartment construction, operations and resident spending on a national level plus all 50 states. Nationally, the apartment industry and its residents contributed $1.1 trillion to the economy in 2011.

"Although attention is usually focused on homebuilding and the single-family sector, the annual construction and operating outlays for apartment buildings with five or more units are major sources of economic activity, jobs and personal earnings," said Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University, who worked on the study.

Added NMHC Chairman Thomas Bozzuto, "Even in one of the worst economic climates we’ve ever seen, the multifamily industry and its 35 million residents contributed more than $1 trillion to the economy. With up to seven million new renter households forming this decade, the dollars and jobs we add to the economy will only grow in magnitude."

_ Sandra Baker


Texas unemployment rate drops to 6.6 percent

Texas’ unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in October from 6.8 percent the previous month, as six of the state’s 11 major industries reported gains, led by education and health. Employers added 36,600 payroll jobs in the month and have added 269,000 jobs in the past year, which has seen all but one of the state’s major industries add positions, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. The annual gain amounts to 3 percent, well over the U.S. rate of 1.8 percent in the same time, and the state’s jobless rate is well below the national rate of 7.9 percent. The category that includes education and health jobs added 13,700 jobs in October, the largest monthly gain ever, TWC said. The category is up 43,000 jobs over the past year.

In Fort Worth-Arlington, employers added 4,600 new positions in October. The area’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, which is unadjusted for seasonal variations. It compares to the state’s unadjusted rate of 6.3 percent.

-- Jim Fuquay


Job fair in Arlington on Sept. 27

Continue reading "Job fair in Arlington on Sept. 27" »


GM to add third shift and 800 jobs at Arlington plant

GM Arlington plant


 General Motors has just announced plans to add a third shift at the Arlington Truck Assembly Plant in 2013 and will begin filling the first of an estimated 800 jobs later this year.

The Arlington plant currently employs about 2,500 hourly and salaried employees -- roughly 2,300 of them on the assembly line -- and operates two production shifts working 50-hours a week and more.

The plant produces GM's top selling  Chevrolet Tahoe and SuburbanGMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade full-sized sport utility vehicles, and built a record 282,000 in 2010. In 2011, the plant produced nearly 270,000 vehicles and GE said demand for the full-size SUVs remains stable.

GM, in a press release, said the third shift will enable Arlington to meet market demand for the current generation of full-size SUVs and provide relief for employees who have worked extensive overtime since the fourth quarter of 2009.

The installation of new tooling and equipment required to build GM’s new line of SUVs will limit vehicle production in 2013. A third shift will provide the plant needed production capacity during this transition time.

GM is already adding to the Arlington plant to add equipment for stamping body parts for the 2014 model vehicles.

- Bob Cox



GM offering public tours of Arlington assembly plant

General Motors is offering public tours its Arlington assembly plant for three days this week to see vehicles being produced on the assembly line.

This will be the first public tours since the Super Bowl week 20111, when bad weather and ice forced GM to cancel planned tours.  Tour times are 11:30 to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7:40 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Pre-registration is required and can only be done online at: http://arlington.gmplantnews.com

GM will allow visitors touring the plant during the open house events to bring cameras and take pictures.

Visitors must wear closed-toe shoes. No open-toed, open-heeled shoes or high heels, sandals, crocs or flip flops are allowed in the  manufacturing area.

The GM assembly plant in Arlington began production in January of 1954 and currently employs more than 2,500 people producing GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicles. The plant produces approximately 1,162 vehicles daily.

- Bob Cox


Private Equity Council releases report

Texas topped the list where private equity firms invested the most money in 2011, the Washington, D.C.-based Private Equity Growth Capital Council said today.

About $21 billion went to 206 Texas-based companies, the group said. Texas was followed by New York, California, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

The organization even goes so far to break it down by congressional districts. Most of the private equity went to congressional districts in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.

Congressional District 18, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston, private equity invested $3 billion in 19 companies.

Congressional District 20, U.S. Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, private equity invested $6 billion in 4 companies.

Congressional District 7, U.S. Rep. John Culbertson, R-Houston, private equity invested $373 million in 21 companies.

Congressional District 10, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, private equity invested $814 million in 20 companies.

Congressional District 32, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, private equity invested $2 billion in 17 companies.

In 2011, private equity invested more than $144 billion in the U.S. economy, with 20 states receiving more than $134 billion of that capital, the group said.

"Over the next several months, we expect the general election to amplify the conversation about private equity," said Steve Judge, president of Private Equity Growth Capital Council, in a statement.

_ Sandra Baker


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